So Opus Dei declares “OPIE DIE!!!”
I’ll never understand why people get whipped into such a lather over a piece of art, some words in a book or a couple of hours sequestered in a stadium-seating screening room. Terrorism. Famine. Plague. The Jimmy Fallon Pepsi Ad. All topics worthy of unquenched ire and thunderous debate. The Da Vinci Code – or The Official Novelization of National Treasure as I believe it’s subtitled – is hardly worth calling forth the Sword of Damocles.
It’s fiction people. It’s entertainment. It’s a couple of hours to pass the time snickering at Hanks’ hair or guys named Teabing. It’s a chance to see which role Ron Howard has shoehorn his baby bro Clint into this time (my money’s on Vitruvian Man.)
The way some people carry on, you’d think they’d mistaken this trivial pursuit for Scripture. Of course, I haven’t paged through a Bible in recent years so who knows, maybe someone has replaced the Book of Daniel with Brown’s novel. In that case – consider yourself blessed – two books for the price of one. Think of it like one of those Reader’s Digest twofers where they mash up two abridged novels into one volume. A personal fave of mine is The Complete Abridged Works of Emily Dickinson/Eight Mile – The Novelization.
So the movie opened last Friday in theaters worldwide. Religious organizations called for boycotts, theater protests and hunger strikes. (“Now remember, No Goobers or Raisinettes until Da Vinci dies.”)
Maybe I’m missing something here but isn’t Ron Howard’s film of The Da Vinci Code an adaptation of Dan Brown’s best selling 2003 novel of the same name? A novel that spent 158 weeks dominating the New York Times Best Seller list and is featured prominently in Barnes & Noble end caps alongside a whole litany of knock-off secret society thrillers (my fave: Sultry Knights – Templars in Tahiti.) So if this is that same worldwide blockbuster, why did the protestors wait until the film opened to launch their protest? How is it that I can leaf through Brown’s book and then journey a couple rows over to sneak a peak at Kama Kama Kama Kama Kama Chameleon: Sutra with Boy George in the Human Sexuality section, completely unimpeded?
Perhaps movie patrons are seen as second class – the steerage to the loftier literary persuasion. Book readers are granted that modicum of intelligence. If we can place nouns and verbs together in proper context and jibe to the author’s meaning then perhaps we are capable of free thought and able to (gasp!!!) come to our own conclusions about the work in question. But moviegoers, ahhh, the poor naïve simpletons. Well there’s a flock of blind sheep that desperately need a shepherd to steer them clear.
Here’s a plea to the protestors. Forget Da Vinci. You want to perform a public service? Next time you see me buying two tix to She’s the Man, slap my wrist and point me in the direction of Syriana.